Biden Pledges “Wartime Effort” Against COVID, Signs Executive Order Activating Defense Production Act

The New York Times reports:

President Biden, pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, signed a string of executive orders and presidential directives on Thursday aimed at combating the worst public health crisis in a century, including new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses and for international travelers to quarantine after arriving in the United States.

“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, by his side. Efforts to untangle and speed up the distribution of vaccines — perhaps the most pressing challenge for the Biden administration that is also the most promising path forward — will be a desperate race against time.

The Washington Post reports:

Biden on Thursday took executive action to address the coronavirus pandemic, including using the Defense Production Act to spur manufacturers produce more personal protective equipment and other resources.

“This is a wartime undertaking,” Biden said during an event at the White House on his first full day as president. “Today, I’m signing an executive action to use the Defense Production Act and all other available authorities to direct all federal agencies and private industry to accelerate the making of everything that is needed to protect, test, vaccinate and take care of our people.”

“We’ve already identified suppliers, and we’re working with them to move the plan forward,” he added.